Friday, June 27, 2008

Unlucky in lunch, unlucky in love

Christina told me she read this and didn't seem too impressed. I guess I should try to craft these posts a little more, but the sun really saps my ability to turn a witty phrase, haha.

Since last I wrote we had a slow monday, spent tuesday doing laundry and going to Taos peublo, had Kaet's car get a flat at the trail head and had two very strange "crickets" scavange food from our shelves at New Buffalo. This week has been a little slow. We've been finding some interesting stuff but it's all been within a fairly small area and today seemed like most of us were getting a little antsy to move on. We still have a fair amount of work at that site, though, so we'll have to make really interesting lunches to make up for it.

The "crickets" are two very very strange women that showed up here "to garden." Barking in the shower and other oddities included. We'd probably be laughing it off if they were in any way friendly. One of them has clear cokebottle glasses about three inches thick and short grey hair and the other is a very large black young lady with a bad case of vertigo. She holds onto the walls as she walks down the four steps into the Buffalo room. They creep around and don't seem to do much. I wish Bob (who runs the place) could find a good group to get this place going. The crickets found an ad about New Buffalo in a newspaper at the Taos bus station. Serendipitous yes, but il-fated it seems. How do you kick someone off a commune?

The Beast, Kaets car, continues it's beast-like ways. Second trip to the shop in a week. We did learn the answer to the age old question, "how many archaeologist does it take to change a tire." Turns out seven almost does it. Eight might be better.

Last night we tried two-stepping again. I think we've improved a bit. The trick is, apparantly, not to move your feet very much. I can't quite get my head around the dance but don't move your feet thing, but I think I've got the Muskogee (sp?) spin down. 

Today we ate outside and watched the sun set. I need to remember to take more photos here at New Buffalo. There is such a thing as too many photos of boulder fields.

Forty bug bites on my left arm only

Drawing faces on hardboiled eggs
Caves twenty degrees cooler than the surface

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Taos Te Tching

Yesterday was the solstice and I have to admit that, in sum, the celebration exceeded my expectations. It started off with a cheesy, new age-y "ceremony" (in which I - as a woman - had to sprinkle water off a sage branch on people) but quickly devolved into a down home sing-a-long with some of the old New Buffalo and Rainbow Family folks who now live the life on "the mesa." Apparently there's a movie called "Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa" that's all about these folks. Two Ravens, Dog Man, Robbi to name a few. Robbi is a lovely old man who plays a mean mandolin from his wheel chair and has more than a story or two to tell. We sang for hours and hours (five, maybe?) and never repeated a song. A scene I wish Erin and Parker especially could have been a part of. Tambourni's, drums, guitars, harmonicas and even a cello at one point appeared out of the crowd. I promised to get a copy of "Where There Walks a Logger, There Walks a Man." I taught him "Whistle Punk Peat" and he decided he needed to know more logger songs. Ended the night out by the bonfire. People came and went and there were varying degrees of weird nostalgia and real Taos folk. Not a pure throwback. A fun time.

Today we went back out to the Vista Verde Trail (late, around nine) and documented a sight we found friday. Hundreds of flakes, a few pot drops, and a bunch of really beautiful and unusual points. At about 3 a big thunderstorm rolled in and we decided to call it a day due to the lightning. Standing on a giant hill of iron cored basalt is not the best place to be in that situation. We took the grocery store by storm instead. Walkie talkies make shopping for eight much more efficient. 

There's actually been a few little storms in the past three days. The first was friday in the middle of the night. I woke up to rain pounding on my tent and some really amazing thunder. Luckily my tent held and I woke up dry and happy. A small swap did form a little down hill from me because an irrigation ditch over flowed. Everyone else has move to the lower pasture. I guess i'll join them soon. We can't break up The Shire (which is what we named our little tent camp). 

Now were sitting (as usual) at the kitchen tables on our computers. Well, Jeff is drawing a projectile point, but he's an exceptional young man in that respect. 

We seem to be breaking up the days enough so that this won't get old very soon. Corn dance at the Taos Pueblo on Tuesday. It's really exciting to find these things and talk about what we find. For example, on thursday, we found a bunch of possible rock shelters and sheep pens that were associated with dateable pottery and stone tools. It's amazing that you can start to construct the story of the early historic shepherd who was spending tim on this hill with his sheep when a Saint's day came around and he decided to peck some crosses into the stone. You can start to figure out the story in the same place those people where standing. Simple. Obvious. Still woah. I'm still not super confident that I know what I'm looking for and that I'm missing a lot, but the nature of the survey is that we will never get everything. I'm getting over it. We've also been followed by our butterfly (from the Katsina mask site) for the past few days and have named it Ginger (after Anand's new love). It almost landed on me today. Apparently in one of the cultures from around here the afterlife is a world of flowers populated by butterfly spirits. Oooo...

Everyone is getting along smashingly and we all seem to genuinely like each-other (or at least I genuinely like everyone else) for which I am eternally grateful. Have to get some recipes from home so I can pitch in with dinner one of these days. Irish soda bread and Marbella chicken I think. I'm open to suggestions of course! (The cheaper the better!)

A week ago today I pulled up to New Buffalo expecting to be roughin' it and here I am dirty a bit tired but perfectly content. Couldn't have asked for more really, except maybe for boots that aren't coming apart at the seams. Ha.

Finger cut from using a swiss army knife to cut ducktape to repair


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Forgive me Father, it's been three days since my last shower.

I think I've given up on a full recap of the drive out. Suffice it to say the drive with the folks was a blast and the places my mom found for us to stay were lovely. It's funny how quickly one starts to feel at home in a place that waits for you after a long day.

Yesterday we finished up our survey of a major portion of the sage flats on the Western Rim of the Rio (which is NOT near Pilar I came to find out). After sitting on the edge of the plateau looking down into the Rio valley we headed towards Pilar (for real) to check out a site called Suazo that was surveyed last year. We got our rock art tutorial there. Some pretty incredible glyphs there.
We then went a mile or so down a road and began a glyph survey up a VERY steep and high hill. We found quite a few things and returned this morning to document. The view from the ridge was incredible and the fact that we climbed it would make my mom cringe. Had my first run in with a cactus. Blood sacrafice to the gods necessary for a sucessful project I'm told.

The undergrads and Sev had dinner at a roadside Mexican place (everything is roadside here) and then went to lecture at SMU. As interesting as it was we were all totally exhausted and struggled to make coherent conversation with the lecturer when he approched us. No great impression.

Woke up a quarter before six again this morning. Waking up with the sun is a really good feeling.

After documenting the glyphs north of Suazo we headed out to Vista Verde trail down in the gorge. Major boulder hopping. I think this may be my favorite kind of survey. Keeps you interested lest you fall off a ridge. We didn't find much until the end of the day when we found some incredible archaic and pueblo glyphs. [I don't have any photos but will tomorrow.] We were all astounded as they are incredibly beautiful, and far more complex than we (meaning Sev) have ever seen for glyphs that old. Sev started talking about them and the site in an incredibly reverential way and I have to admit that I definitely felt some sort of difference standing under that particular rock face. A huge yellow and black butterfly kept circling the site too. I'm taking it as a sign. Cheesy as it may be.
Sev, Anand and I boulder hopped back to the cars as the rest of the group walked the trail. It's really such an dynamic landscape I want to get in as much of it as I can in this short month.

I write now from the kitchen as the "grad students" cook dinner. They've taken control of the food situation very successfully and us youngling offer not complaints. We moved our tents to a immensly better site out in a pasture off the kitchen under some trees. Should be nice sleeping away from the barking dogs next door. Tomorrow we head back to the Vista Verde trail Grad student-less as Sima is leaving and Anand and Kaet are going to ABQ to pick up Anands "love interest," Ginger. We've been teasing him endlessly. They'll be staying in the "enchantment room" as the wooden plaque on it's door proudly proclaims.

Today is Lyndsy's birthday so we're having cookies and ice cream and building a shrine somewhere down on the river to celebrate.

Knees (cut and bruised)
Neck (RED)

Katsina mask glyphs
buffalo burgers in tortillas

[There's not enough bandwidth here to post photos but I will as soon as I figure it out]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A League of Their Own

First day out in the field:
Went out Pilar way (western rim of the Rio Grande). Within about 10 minutes of walking
transect lines we found a good site with tons of lithic scatters, a bit of pottery, and some points. Took a while to hit my stride but by the end of the day I'd found my first projectile point! (yay - don't worry, I've given up on my tattoo idea).

Still stunned by the scenery here... we walk with our noes to the ground and look up to find one of the most impressive vistas I've ever seen staring right back at us. Still getting a feel for the way the landscape actually "works" but time, time, time.

Worked on some mapping with Sev when we split off and then some "recon." We would walk just 10 meters and find another site.

Exhausted by the end of the day (and still am now). Bumpy ride home and then a quick jump in the Rio Grande to cool off.

Got home. Set up tent (possibly on top of an ant hill). Ate. Listened to Bob, the big guy here at New Buffalo, share some history of the place. Just as we are finishing Wind shows up. Weathered looking guy who truly lives off the land. Sometimes crashes here on a pallet of straw outside and finds most of his food in the brush and mountains. Now we're all here sitting in the kitchen on our computers while Sev tunes up his guitar for a little sing-a-long. Too classic right?



First point

New Buffalo


Monday, June 16, 2008

A Fish Called Wanda

Just arrived at New Buffalo after a long drive from the Albuquerque airport to drop off the folks and pick up Jeff and Christina. 
Update from the 1000 miles to get here soon.
Night in the kiva and tomorrow a tent!